What a Hoot

Baby Gift Set

Early in spring I learned that a trio of my friends were expecting babies. I set about stockpiling a few gifts. I loved the idea of this kicking bag (a blanket they can’t squirm out of).  It’s something incredibly useful for the mom whether the baby is snuggled in a sling, breastfeeding on the couch, or asleep in bed. I was also mightily attracted to the idea of oodles of stockinette in the round – something to let my fingers and brain do at a deep level while my mind attended to other things.

The sun-bleached, beachy colours of this yarn seemed particularly to suit my fellow La Leche League Leader, so I set these two aside for her. waiting until the baby arrived to do the embroidery. I wanted to know whether to seek ‘sweet’ inspiration for a motif or ‘sweet and pretty’. The arrival of little Jonah dictated a ‘sweet’ approach.

Baby Gift Set

Here’s a little tutorial for the embroidery, if you can call it that. One of the things that holds me back when thinking of embellishing knitted fabrics is the fact that I can’t sketch the design onto the fabric using a washable pen. Dealing with embroidering a fabric so textured seems tricky enough without adding freestyle designing to the mix.

This week, however, I learned something new. The kids are working on the woodland felt creatures from Doodle Stitching. I was puzzled by the pattern until I realized we weren’t supplied with a seam allowance. Instead we were to pin the pattern to the fabric and stitch all around it, using it as a guideline, and then cut around it with an inch to spare.  A simple, direct approach to knowing where to stitch.

I adapted this for the owl, as you can see here. I decided that chain stitch would be a) bold enough to show up on the fabric, and b) easy to do on two layers. I was puzzled by how to go about sewing something with a back layer I did not want to go through. Clearly, the up and down motions of many stitches would complicate my creative project. But chain stitch lets you skim along the top. It worked wonderfully.

I back stitched around in ovals for the eyes and prepared to do satin stitch over the whole shape. Only to learn that I do not like satin stitch much, and it really wasn’t looking great. Luckily, I realized this at a point when I could claim it was a ‘sleepy design feature’. Little French knots in a different colour made the pupils.

In hindsight, I wish I would have positioned the owl lower so that I could have it perched on the bottom of a crescent moon – just to increase the cuteness. But the owl was simple and fairly quick to sew and adds that touch of special that handwork does.

Pattern: Kicking Bag for Babies (Ravelry link)

Hat Pattern: Newborn Hat and Sock Set

Yarn: Kurtenbach Sox 4 Color Twister Colour 165

100g made both projects with a bit to spare.


6 thoughts on “What a Hoot

  1. GailV says:

    Very cute! That owl is simply adorable.

    Another idea to embroider sans washable marker is to use a tear-away — Sulky brand has one — you can draw on the tear-away, position it on the fabric, then rip it all away afterwards. The places you’ve pierced with your needle are like perforations in it that helps it tear away.

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